Food additives

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27 Feb 2017
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First the list of about 330 ingredients authorised in Europe. See my comments at the bottom. The missing numbers, e.g. E103, E105 etc. are not authorised. From The School of Food Biosciences, The University of Reading, UK

Footnotes (official)

[1] E120: Cochineal is an insect living in Latin America from which the natural dye carmine is extracted after drying, primarily used as a red colorant in food and in lipstick.

[2] E150a: The term caramel relates to products of a more or less intense brown colour which are intended for colouring. It does not correspond to the sugary aromatic product obtained from heating sugars and which is used for flavouring food (e.g. confectionery, pastry, alcoholic drinks).

[2] E161g: Canthaxanthin is not authorised in the food categories listed in Part D and E. The substance is in list B1 because it is used in medicinal products in accordance with Directive 2009/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 109, 30.4.2009, p. 10).

[4] E210-213: Benzoic acid may be present in certain fermented products resulting from the fermentation process following good manufacturing practice.

Comments (mine)

I am a chemist, though not a nutritionist or dietetician. I know most of the molecules in the list, although I am really familiar with only a few of the substances above, but let me tell you that in general, I would prefer to avoid them in my food. This list does not show some restrictions of use of the ingredients. See for instance a definition of the European Commission.

Examples, harmless

Examples that I would avoid

Of course, no one will remember all these E numbers, so when you look at the label on your Mars chocolate bar or on my adjacent Smarties, you won't know what's in the bag. My recommendation is still: look at the label, and avoid any processed food that has a composition like a chemist's prescription... Try to eat plain food, cook it yourself or eat it raw. Of course, you must be careful about its cleanliness and conditions of preservation.

See also in my "Reactions" page Open Food Facts: the ingredients and additives of all the industrial food products!

Voir en français le guide des additifs alimentaires (lien externe).

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